- Category : Writers-Erotic
- Type : GE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Contagion 1
French Renaissance man, an author, physician, lecturer of Greek, political satirist and one of the fathers of the modern novel. Portrayed by some as a drunken buffoon and by others as a profound philosopher, he more aptly expressed a genius such as that of the 18th-century English satirist Jonathan Swift, giving satirical expression to the philosophical and political concerns of his day. Rabelaisian ideas and attitudes may be found in the work of such 20th-century writers as James Joyce and Henry Miller. He is a difficult author for modern readers because of the dense intellectual content of nearly everything he wrote.
Rabelais was one of four children, the son of a wealthy lawyer who owned several vast estates. After a privileged childhood he entered the Franciscan order at Fontenay le Comte. During his 15 years in the convent, he studied Latin, Greek, science, law, philology and letters. He loved the monastic lifestyle, but could not agree with many of the principles embodied by the Church. Around 1531 he left the order and entered medical school, also incidentally, fathering a child with a local maid. (Evidence points to his production of at least two illegitimate children.) Criticized for his humanist studies he left the order and joined the Benedictines. Beginning his study of medicine in Paris, he later received a degree as a Bachelor of Medicine from the University of Montpelier..
Moving to the intellectual and cultural center of Lyon soon afterward, he practiced medicine but also worked as an editor and translator of Latin. At the same time
he expressed his sense of humor writing popular almanacs making sport of astrology.
Rabelais's first great work, "Pantagruel," 1532, is the life story of a lusty young giant of great strength and appetites. It had its origins in an anonymous contemporary book entitled "Les grandes et inestimables cronicques du grand et énorme géant Gargantua," (The Grand and Inestimable Chronicles of the Grand and Enormous Giant Gargantua). In 1534 Rabelais published "La vie très horrificque du grand Gargantua," (The Very Frightful Life of the Grand Gargantua), the story of Pantagruel's father. Both books, printed under the pseudonym Alcofribas Nasier, had prodigious success, although condemned by the Sorbonne as obscene.
After making two trips to Italy, Rabelais taught medicine at Montpelier 1537-1538 then moved to Paris. Francis I granted him license to publish his third book, "Tiers Livre," 1546, with which he used his real name. His satire was becoming more broad, but beneath its bawdy and ribald wit were serious discussions of politics, education and philosophy, with a mockery of many religious practices. "Quart Livre" followed in 1552.
Censored and condemned by the church for his unorthodox views, he was imprisoned and threatened with persecution for heresy. In 1547 Rabelais fled to Metz, and then to Rome. where he worked as curate of St. Christophe de Jambe. He was often forced to go into hiding. In addition to satire, Rabelais was also a reliable chronicler of everything gastronomic in France during this period. His name has remained popular in association with bawdy feasting and his riotous and often broadly course sexual humor was at the expense of women.
Eventually retiring as curate, he died in Paris on 4/30/1553. "Cinquiesma Livre" was published posthumously, and its true authorship is often questioned.
Rabelais died in Paris, probably on 4/09/1553.